Restaurant review: Leziz, N4

Jon Dean finds an oasis of calm in Finsbury Park

There are times when only Turkish food will hit the spot. The heady thrill of the grill, with aromatic smoke tantalising your nostrils and myriad different types of salty meat offer a satisfaction unlike any other nation’s cuisine.

So it was with high expectations and even larger appetite that we popped down to Leziz, on Blackstock Road. As those of you who know the area will vouch, Finsbury Park is absolutely saturated with Turkish eateries. In a bid to stand out from the crowd, Leziz recently underwent a change of management, head-hunted some new chefs and spruced the place up a bit. While the inside looks like a fairly typical cafe/restaurant, the back of the place boasts an idyllic secret garden, which seems a million miles from the hustle and bustle of N4.

As it was an unseasonably hot autumn night, that’s where we repaired to make ourselves comfortable upon arrival. Arsenal were at home on the day of our visit, and we had been concerned about a melee of Gooners, all ten pints to the good, spoiling the atmosphere when we got there. But although the football crowd was clearly in evidence, the place was not rammed, seating was abundant and there was an enjoyable buzz about the garden.

After a quick scan of the two page menu, went for a mixed meze starter with a side dish of haloumi cheese. As expected, the meze was served with a healthy basket of Turkish bread to dip into the....

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The Cypriot cheese, a personal favourite, was well-grilled, had the consistency of steak and lovely, salty aftertaste.

After a brief pause for breath, out came the mains. For me, a hearty stew complete with lamb shank, chunky potatoes, vegetables and a bit of plump juicy rice. The meat literally fell off the bone into the rich, lightly spiced sauce, and the soft vegetables created a lip-smacking medley of flavours.

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My other half went for the traditional mixed kebab and was not disappointed. Zesty kofte, marinated chicken wings, lamb chops and other meaty chunks fought for delicious dominance on the plate, along with grilled chillies, salad, bread and rice.

All the portions were more than reasonable and were washed down by several bottles of Turkish lager Efes, meaning were well and truly stuffed by the time Napoleon, the fat and friendly local cat, came sniffing around the garden for treats.

After a complimentary apple tea, it was time to make a move, happy in the knowledge that we had discovered a culinary oasis amid the chaos of Finsbury Park.

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